A judge has begun the murder trial for the illegal alien charged with the 2015 killing of Kate Steinle in San Francisco.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate allegedly shot Steinle to death as she walked on Pier 14 with her father, fuelling the national debate about crime by illegals aliens, Democrats’ support for sanctuary cities, and immigration policy which helped Donald Trump win the 2016 election.
CNN reported on the opening statements in the trial on Monday:
His voice breaking at times — and with the man charged in his 32-year-old daughter’s death sitting a few feet away — James Steinle said he didn’t know and couldn’t tell that his daughter had been shot when she collapsed in front on him on a San Francisco pier in July 2015.
A passer-by, Steinle said, suggested that they turn her over. They did.
“You could see the bullet hole,” Steinle said.
Judge Samuel Feng told prospective jurors that immigration, sanctuary cities, gun control and their political views should not enter into their deliberations, according to the Chronicle.
The defense attorney for Garcia Zarate said the shooting was a “freak accident” the took place when the weapon discharged, and the bullet hit the ground, ricocheted, and hit Steinle.
Steinle’s last words were: “Dad, help me. Help me,” according to the prosecutor.
Zarate had been deported five times since he entered the U.S. illegally as a minor. He was convicted of felony re-entry and sentenced in 2011 to 46 months in federal prison but was released early once another charge against him was dropped in March 2015. He was released into a sanctuary city in what is now a sanctuary state.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the important issue is not immigration policy, but anti-immigrant sentiment fanned by presidential candidate Trump when he expressed outrage about the murder on the campaign trail. The Chronicle, in an article entitled “Immigration uproar looms over trial in Kate Steinle’s death,” reported:
Donald Trump used Steinle’s death to fuel his campaign for president, branding her killer, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an “animal” and declaring that the shooting showed the need for a wall on the Mexican border.
In San Francisco, anger at Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi for his decision to release the jailed Garcia Zarate about 10 weeks before the shooting contributed to his 2016 re-election defeat. Mirkarimi cited San Francisco’s sanctuary city law in declining to notify federal immigration officials that he was about to release an undocumented Mexican with a criminal record.
The Trump administration has invoked Garcia Zarate and the slaying in its effort, unsuccessful so far, to strip federal funds from cities and states that refuse to take part in immigration enforcement.
The article did not include a photo of the dead woman.
Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee recently ran an editorial claiming sanctuary cities aren’t to blame for deaths like Steinle’s. “What doesn’t matter is that Garcia Zarate (Sanchez) is Mexican,” the Sacrament Bee editorial board wrote:
Nor does it matter how he got across the border. It also doesn’t matter that San Francisco is a sanctuary city in what is now a sanctuary state. And it really doesn’t matter that some people insist building a wall along the border with Mexico would have prevented Garcia Zarate from illegally entering the United States six times …
Meanwhile, details began to trickle out about Garcia Zarate that actually do matter and should matter this week in the San Francisco Hall of Justice.
Was he mentally ill? Video from a police interview that surfaced suggested as much, but the question remains unanswered. Was he homeless? Photos shot by an amateur photographer days before the murder raised the question.
And if both are true, why was he apparently released from the San Francisco jail with no support services?
Also, how did Garcia Zarate get the gun?
This past summer the House of Representatives passed “Kate’s Law,” a measure named for the victim. The U.S. Senate has not passed the legislation, which would increase maximum prison penalties for immigrants caught repeatedly reentering the United States illegally.